After living in four different countries, attending six schools and being exposed to dozens of cultures, I honestly thought I had heard it all. That is why I still find it so very hard to believe that I could stumble upon an issue so pressing as women’s lack of access to menstrual products. Even more to my astonishment, a single article has lead to (amongst many other things) an unforgettable, life-changing time in Rwanda working with SHE.
I lived for a month this summer in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Although I had organized, scheduled and prepared for months, embarking on my trip did feel like stepping into the unknown. I was so keen but as the days grew nearer my nerves did kick in. Many would presume that I was scared from the thought of being alone in a new country, but instead I was preoccupied with whether anyone would take a 16-year-old blond, peppy girl seriously. Much to my content, I have never been treated with more respect or maturity, then when I worked along side the amazing people I met in Rwanda.
|On the road from capital city Kigali to the rural area in Kayonza|
I spent most days in Kigali, but I had the opportunity to travel the countryside on multiple occasions. Officially, I completed a checklist of items for SHE, including shooting and editing films. I still managed to spend most of my time hidden behind my camera lens, trying to capture as many things as possible (more to come!). When I did venture away from it, I met incredible people who told me heart-breaking, courageous or inspiring stories. Travelling with the SHE team, we ran focus groups where I had the luck of listening to girls tell me about their experiences with their periods. Most of the time, they were my age, which truly allowed me to bond with them. Although we live thousands of miles apart, I found we had as much in common as we did different.
|Just some of the natural beauty that can be found all over in Rwanda|
I recorded my experiences through videos, photos, and journal entries. Right now I am collecting and organizing everything to share with you…so stay tuned!